Dealing with HMRC and your tax obligations can seem intimidating when you’re new to self-employment (and even when you’re not so new). Whether you’re freelancing or setting up a new business by yourself, there’s a lot to get your head around.
The best advice is always to get an accountant to steer you through these unfamiliar waters, making sure you fulfil your obligations and don’t incur fines for late or incorrect tax submissions. Even better, an accountant can ensure you keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible by claiming for allowances and applying for grants you may not even know about.
This doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – for instance, accounting services from online accountants The Accountancy Partnership start at just £19.50 per month.
But if you’re going it alone (or have an accountant but want to understand more about this side of your business yourself), then HMRC provides a wealth of information to help.
Find out about:
Starting out in self-employment
HMRC’s helpful online guide, Starting Your Own Business, contains information on:
- Choosing the right structure for your business, explaining your options for the legal structure of your business and what constitutes ‘self-employment’
- How to inform HMRC about your self-employment, including information on tax registration
- Keeping business records and claiming expenses – what records you need to keep and your options for how to do this
- Filing your tax returns and sending HMRC payments, including understanding your tax bill
Also on HMRC’s YouTube channel, you’ll find a series of recorded webinars on Business Expenses for the Self-Employed, beginning with Part 1: What are allowable business expenses?
If you would rather join a live webinar and get some of your questions answered via on on-screen text box, there is a webinar on 24th July, 11.00 PM to 12.00 PM. about Capital Allowances for the self-employed. This webinar is aimed at those who use traditional accounting, showing them how to claim for longer life items they buy for their business such as vans, tools or machinery.
Record keeping, tax and self assessment
Another useful upcoming webinar is Record Keeping for the Self-Employed, taking place on Thursday 5th July, 11.00 AM – 12.00 PM and Wednesday 18th July, 4.00 PM – 5.00 PM. This is aimed at sole traders and partnerships (but not LLPs nor limited companies) and will give you an introduction to the basic principles of keeping good business records, what HMRC expects from you, how you can get into good habits from the start and about the recording keeping apps available for mobile devices.
If your Self Assessment tax bill is causing you concern, then HMRC’s video, Paying your Self Assessment Tax Bill, might be helpful. There’s also a host of other videos about self assessment, tax, deadlines and payment.
The Government’s website has a self-employment page with numerous links to guides on working for yourself, setting up a business, handling the financial side of your business and sources of further support and information. So start reading (or watching!) and get better informed about running your business – whether that’s founding a business empire or organising yourself and your freelancing. Let us know how you get on!